Come See My Dead Person is one of those bands people have constantly tried to get me into over the years, but the time never seemed right. Well, the release of their new self-titled album should be a good enough place to begin, I thought, and I'm very glad I did.
The sound is a mix of pretty much every single genre that has a set of nuts. Country, blues, jazz, klezmer, zydeco, psychobilly, rock, even a few little moments of Rasputina-esque goth, rock and ragtime weave themselves in and out of the 14-song funeral procession.
No, not a funeral procession. That's inaccurate. It's more like a wake, a proper Irish one where there's plenty of joking, good stories, as well as maudlin moments of mourning and probably even a good dive across the coffin. Alcohol, too, but I probably didn't really need to say that.
Things really get cooking with "John Doe" early in the experience. The track is a toe-tapping, high-paced road song that would sound perfect in an episode of True Blood as some vamper left a trail of passengers with ill-luck bloody and dead behind her. If there is another song that manages to be a rockin' ode to a corpse experiencing its own decomposition then there can't be many.
That playful morbid streak is probably the most defining aspect of Come See My Dead Person. It's certainly the parts that are going to garner the most comparisons to The Nekromantix and, more accurately, to The Creepshow. CSMDP, though, manages a subtlety in their approach that is less overtly ghoulish and closer to the darker moments of honky-tonk.
Take "Kidney in a Jar." If you're not really paying attention you might be able to hear it just as a dancehall tune, but there are deep-cutting turns of phrase that keep it well outside the Social Distortion "Ball and Chain" tone. Not to mention I still want to know why someone's granddaddy's left kidney was in a pickle jar in the first place.
It's not all upbeat, though, and I think it's in the Southern gothic moments that the album really rises to Heaven from a rotting corpse. Songs like "The Rose" are the kind of songs that change or ruin lives. A more hopeless set of lyrics can't be imagined than "But we're all gonna burn so it's our choice how we live our lives." The song is the musical equivalent of the silence in a car on the way home from a miscarriage. It just fucking aches all over.
Honestly, it's an almost impossible track to follow-up, but man, "End of All" pulls it off so close as to not matter. The Irish reel is at first near obscene in its liveliness after "The Rose," but, as seems to be the band's true gift, it pulls holiness out of a hat in the midst of the bloody aftermath.
What defines Come See My Dead Person best is how baldly it looks at death in its songs. She's real, personal, a little cruelly whimsical, sometimes tragic, but also something of a friend. We all hear the beating of her wings in the end, probably over the sound of our friends here tuning up.
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Come See My Dead Person plays 4 p.m. Sunday, December 16 at Cactus Music, 2110 Portsmouth.